Dec 19 Asia's top companies were slightly more
confident on their business outlook in the fourth quarter,
despite lingering doubts about the global economy, according to
the latest Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment
Survey, published on Wednesday.
The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Asia Business Sentiment Index
rose to 63 in December, halting two consecutive quarters
of decline. The index had fallen to 62 in September, a 7-point
drop from the June survey. A reading above 50 indicates an
overall positive outlook.
AUSTRALIA: UPBEAT (INDEX AT 53 VS 50 IN Q3)
Corporate sentiment in Australia picked up for a second
successive quarter, but global economic uncertainty remained the
biggest concern. Of the 19 respondents, four were positive, 12
neutral and three were negative. In the last quarter, two were
positive, two negative and 10 neutral.
Ten respondents said their new orders increased, while two
said orders decreased. James Hardie, the world's
largest manufacturer of fibre cement products, and Australian
warehouse operator Goodman Group took part in the
CHINA: SIGNIFICANTLY MORE UPBEAT (INDEX AT 64 VS 50 IN Q3)
Sentiment among Chinese companies rebounded in the fourth
quarter from an all-time low in the previous quarter. Two
companies were positive, while five were neutral and none
reported negative sentiment, compared with one positive, four
neutral and one negative in the third quarter of 2012.
Most were worried about the global economy, while one cited
rising costs. Three out of seven respondents said employment
levels were higher, a significant improvement compared with only
one respondent in the previous quarter. Casino operator Galaxy
Entertainment Group Ltd was among the respondents.
INDIA: HIGHEST SINCE Q1 2011 (INDEX AT 100 VS 80 IN Q3)
Indian respondents grew significantly more upbeat and the
country's sentiment index reached its highest level since the
first quarter of 2011, with all of the seven companies surveyed
positive about their outlook.
Economic uncertainty and rising costs were still the top
risks cited by companies in Asia's No.3 economy.
India's YES Bank was among those taking part in
JAPAN: NEW LOW IN 2012 (INDEX AT 44 VS 48 IN Q3)
Sentiment among Japanese respondents, which included Toshiba
Corp, Nippon Steel and Sumitomo Metal Corp.
and Canon Inc, continued the pessimistic tone of the
None of the Japanese companies had a positive outlook for
the first time since the survey started in 2009, with 15 out of
17 respondents neutral and two negative.
Foreign exchange volatility was seen as the biggest risk by
three companies, while economic uncertainty worried the
SOUTH KOREA: IMPROVEMENT (INDEX AT 50 VS 20 in Q3)
Sentiment improved after the country's sentiment index hit
its lowest level since the third quarter of 2011 in September.
All of the 11 respondents were neutral about their outlook,
an improvement compared with three negative respondents and two
neutral in the previous quarter.
Global economic uncertainty was the top business risk for
Korean companies, while one saw foreign exchange volatility as a
concern. Hyundai Heavy was among those taking part
in the survey.
TAIWAN: LOWEST SINCE Q3 2011(INDEX AT 33 VS 40 IN Q3)
The country's sentiment index hit its lowest level since the
third quarter of 2011. Two of three respondents were neutral
about their outlook, while one was negative.
All of the companies in the survey saw economic uncertainty
as the biggest risk to their business outlook. Yuanta Financial
Holdings Co. was among those taking part in the
SOUTH EAST ASIA: MOSTLY OPTIMISTIC (PHILIPPINES, INDONESIA,
MALAYSIA AT 100; SINGAPORE AT 50; THAILAND 75)
Corporate sentiment from Southeast Asia was mostly upbeat,
with Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines recording the highest
scores. All of the 15 respondents from the three countries were
positive about their business outlook.
Thai firms also grew more upbeat as the country's index
improved from the last quarter, with three out of six companies
reporting positive sentiment and three neutral.
However, Singapore's sentiment index fell to its lowest
level since the fourth quarter of 2011. Nine of 11 companies
surveyed were neutral, one was negative and one positive.
** Companies sampled for the survey may change from one
quarter to the next.